Narrow house

A fire near University Avenue traps large family


SAN DIEGO – A raging fire trapped a family inside their Mid-City home on Sunday morning, but they were rescued after a resident managed to reach out and grab a firefighter through the security bars on their window.

The fire started around 6 a.m. at the home on Malcolm Drive in the Rolando neighborhood, near the intersection of University and College avenues. Firefighters received reports of thick smoke and flames coming from the one-story house and were told there was a large family trapped inside, according to Batt. Chef Mike McBride with San Diego Fire-Rescue.

When the teams arrived, they immediately began searching for people still inside the burning house, McBride told an OnScene TV photographer. A firefighter was walking towards the side of the house when “a family member reached out through that window (and) grabbed him by the arm,” the battalion commander said.

“They cut the bars off that window, dragging probably four to five people out of this position,” he continued.

As teams scrambled to extinguish the flames, a total of six people were rescued and another took to safety on her own, SDFD said. There were five adults and two children, aged 10 to 78.

One of the family members suffered severe burns and was rushed to UC San Diego Medical Center for treatment. The others were eventually taken to hospital for help with smoke inhalation.

Access to the house was difficult due to its location on a narrow, inclined road, so excess crews left their vehicles on University Avenue, closing this area’s busy thoroughfare for several hours, a McBride explained. A two-alarm fire, the response included dozens of firefighters and other staff, with resources ultimately coming from La Mesa and El Cajon departments as well.

SDFD Metro Arson Strike Team will be tasked with determining the cause of the fire, which does not necessarily indicate that foul play is suspected. MAST is used to investigate most major fires in the city.